30 October 2010

28 Before 28

Everyone has a bucket list - you know, that neverending list of things you hope to do someday-in-the-really-distant-future-which-may-or-may-not-come. Variations of this list have started circulating recently, such as the 30 things to do before I turn 30, usually on that person's birthday.

This line of thinking really jives with me. I get deadlines, things that are concrete. "Before I die" tells me absolutely nothing. Could be tomorrow - could be 40 years from now. This is why I like something a little in betweensies.

So in honor of my blessed day of birth (which is tomorrow), here are my 28 Before 28:

1. Take a cooking class at the Fort Worth Culinary Institute.
2. Ride in a hot air balloon.
3. Watch less news/ TV in general (two hours a day MAX).
4. Do a Bible study with my sister.
5. Plant more things in my "container garden."
6. Go paperless in the kitchen.
7. Revive AndWritelySo, my old handwriting/ calligraphy business.
8. Make it through a chataranga in yoga without cheating. :D
9. Stop buying greeting cards from the store and make them myself instead!
10. Floss. Everyday.
11. Find a place to volunteer regularly.
12. Host a craft day with my cousin Laura and sister-in-law Tara.
13. Invite someone over for dinner once a month.
14. Make photo books/ scrapbooks for our vacations.
15. Get in the habit of taking better care of my skin (wearing sunscreen daily, using moisturizer, etc.) so I can wear less makeup.
16. Try resale shopping more often.
17. Take a certification course so I can drive the scooter legally!
18. Read 28 (or more!) new books.
19. Get into the habit of washing dishes every day or every other day...instead of every seven. :{
20. Finish painting those dead-gum baseboards.
21. Plan a fun reunion weekend for my college roommates.
22. Practice using the little Spanish that I know more often.
23. Pray with Clay every night before bed.
24. Start composting.
25. Travel somewhere I have never been (preferrably an international locale :)).
26. Take an art class.
27. Stay within my budget categories.
28. Keep up with (and document) all these goals!

What's on your list? :D

26 October 2010

Weekly Wows!

We have continued our dancing escapades with much success. We had a lesson last Wednesday night, then another impromptu lesson Thursday night followed by a group class. (Note: It is not recommended to dance for 1 1/2 hours in heels.) Now we know the foxtrot, the jitterbug, the waltz, the rumba, and the two-step - and how to do a turn in each one! Clay has been such a good sport about everything, especially when the male dance teacher had to dance with him to show how to do some steps. Too bad I couldn't get a photo of that face. ;) It was especially interesting to take the group class and dance with other people, which made us appreciate each other that much more! I still need to work on not taking the lead from Clay...but that's another story.

The photo arrangement is finally finished! I've been working on putting up some photos in our living room, rearranging the existing frames and pulling out some unused ones. We have quite a few photos from recent trips that we wanted to display...and I finally got around to it! I am quite satisfied with the finished product:

The Rangers are going to the World Series! Not that I'm a huge baseball fan or anything, I'm just seriously impressed that the Rangers were able to pull this off. Now if only the Cowboys will start playing a little better too...

Saturday morning Clay and I got to have a Chick-Fil-A breakfast date. Nothing like a little chicken biscuit to start your day!

The person who purchased the house next door (which has been vacant for over a year) is fixing it up! So far they have cleared the forest of a backyard, put on a new roof, fixed the eaves, painted the siding, and installed new windows. It is looking SO MUCH nicer! I can't wait to see the finished product.

What's wow-ing you this week? ;D

23 October 2010

Restaurant Review: Chef Point On Wheels

 On Wednesday of this week, my supervisor suggested that we try out a "new" restaurant - called Chef Pointe On Wheels, which sets up every Wednesday from 11am to 2pm in the Gordon Boswell parking lot. Luckily for us it was a little before noon on a Wednesday, so we hopped in the car and headed on over.

We pulled into the parking lot not really knowing what to expect, and discovered this:

A big trailer outfitted with an industrial kitchen inside!
There were only a few people in line when we got there (mostly nurses from Harris Methodist across the street), but the line was maybe 15 deep when we left! Needless to say, it is a popular place.

We stepped up to the window to place our order from the menu, which was an abbreviated version of the actual Chef Point menu - mostly sandwiches, burgers, some pasta dishes, and their signature "Better Than Sex" Chicken. The prices were all very reasonable, and the portions were huge just like at the restaurant! They even sell canned sodas for 75 cents - a real deal. 

I ordered a cheeseburger
(I ended up eating half for lunch and half for dinner)

and my supervisor ordered the chicken fettucine 
which was enough to feed a whole family! 

There is no seating (it's in a parking lot, after all), so everything is packaged to go. When we brought our food back to the office, all our coworkers kept stopping by to see what smelled so good. ;)

Having visited the real Chef Point Cafe, located in a Conoco gas station up near Watauga (for real!), I knew that the food would be good - and I was not disappointed! I definitely recommend trying out Chef Point on Wheels if you're in the medical district on a Wednesday - or even the stationary version if you're in north Forth Worth. Your tummy will be glad you did!

19 October 2010

Shall We Dance?

A few months ago, my dear, sweet husband surprised me with a gift certificate to Arthur Murray Dance Studio. For actual dance lessons. Yes - lessons, plural. When he told me, I think I might have actually fallen off whatever chair I was sitting on. I couldn't believe it! He knew I had always talked about us taking dance lessons together, but I never thought it would actually happen.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it sure did happen!
Last Friday night was our very first lesson, and what an adventure it was...

We learned front steps, back steps, side steps, rock steps.

We learned about the "connection" between dancers, as demonstrated here:

(As we were heading home from the class,
Clay asked, "Do people really dance like this?" ha ha)

Our instructor taught us the basics of the foxtrot and the jitterbug, and we even started working on a turn. Fancy us. :D She was so incredibly impressed that two people WITH NO DANCING EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER could be such naturals - ha!

Just to make sure your expectations are set, we are not planning to audition for Dancing With The Stars anytime soon. Only in our wildest dreams will we ever look like this:

More news from the "twinkle toes" Riches to come!
(Trust me - you don't want to miss this.)

13 October 2010

Yummy Plummy

So, there I was with three pounds of plums (thank you, co-op!)
and NO IDEA what to do with them...

Then I remembered my friend Jaci's lovely Oregon wedding and the sweet favors her grandmother whipped up for the guests: little jars of peach, pear, and apple butter! Inspired by this old-fashioned tradition, I decided to attempt my very own plum butter.

First, I cut the plums into large chunks, discarding the pits.

Then I put all that plummy purpleness into a six-quart saucepan...

...added some sugar - okay, a lot of sugar...

...a bit of ground cardamom and cinnamon...

...and some water.

I brought it all to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered for about 20 minutes
or until the fruit was soft and mushy, like this:

Next I pulled out my handy-dandy immersion blender to puree the fruit. ;)

The saucepan went back onto the eye over a low heat
for THREE HOURS until the fruity liquid ends up like this:

Then I slathered some yummy plummy butter on crisp wheat toast for breakfast the next morning - and the next morning. And the next. I love me some plum butter! ;D

11 October 2010

Zen and the Art of Motorscooter Maintenance

Clay and I have been capitalizing on this lovely fall weather as of late and riding the scooter pretty much everywhere we can. So naturally, being on the scooter so frequently has made me realize a few things...

There are a LOT of smells out there. Exhaust from the diesel truck in front of you at a stoplight, aromas from the neighborhood fast-food joint, the smell of a smoking fireplace, roadkill you just passed - you know, all the things your car protects your nostrils from. Sometimes they are nice smells...and sometimes not so nice.

You wouldn't normally think 40 miles an hour is that fast. But it is. We have these cute little white helmets (think Chips) with nifty little wind visors that pull down to about your cheekbone. The unfortunate part is that they are not quite long enough to completely deflect the wind. When you're riding along, the wind comes up and underneath the visor - and right into your eyes, making them water excessively. My husband's solution? These bad boys:

 A nice addition to his ensemble, don't you think? ;)

It actually matters what the weatherman says. I used to go about my business not paying much attention to the daily forecast - until I started riding the scooter. It's important to know how hot or cold it will be outside so that you can dress appropriately. Because when it's 70 degrees outside and you're zipping along on the scooter, it can be quite chilly. Last weekend I needed a scarf and gloves for our little jaunts around town!

Who knew there were so many bugs out this time of year? Without the protection of a windshield, all those little winged friends end up on you. (Definitely incentive to keep your mouth closed!) It has been quite funny to count the splatters on Clay's chin and neck after a particularly speedy ride. Thankfully he catches most of them for me. ;) Maybe we should have considered a scooter like this:

I don't trust my husband as much as I thought I did. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but it made me super-nervous to ride the scooter with Clay - which is wierd because he is such a good driver! His helmet mostly obstructs my view, which means I can't see what's up ahead. I can't see oncoming cars or little squirrels darting across our path, I can't tell if the street is curving right or left, I don't know if there is a speed bump or dip I should prepare for. I just have to trust that Clay knows what he's doing, which can sometimes be kind of scary! Riding together has taught me to have more faith in my husband - although if I do have a concern, I can just yell in his ear. ;)

There's a beautiful world outside your car window! It's amazing how much more I feel like I notice when riding the scooter - a tree whose leaves have finally begun to turn yellow, the way the colors of a starry sky fade into the horizon, a new flower arrangement in the yard of that house on the corner. I have certainly learned to be aware of and appreciate God's creation so much more now that I'm not securely enclosed in my steel box on wheels!

Needless to say, I have been quite surprised just how much this scooter is teaching me! Who knew riding a motorscooter could be such an educational experience?! :D

04 October 2010

Rich-Craft: Put Your Best Foot Forward

A loooong while back I mentioned that I had purchased an adorable pattern from Sweet Pea Patterns on Etsy to make some baby shoes. I have had all the materials to make them for months, and finally had the time (and the motivation!) this past weekend to make them!

Let me tell you, this project is not for the faint of heart! I made four shoes before I got two that were actually close to the same size. (Let's call it character - not crooked seams. ;D) Imperfections and all, they are pretty darn cute if I do say so myself...

They even match a snappy onesie that was inspired by the fabric!

I finished these just in time for a friend's baby shower this weekend. I hope her little girl enjoys them! :D